Idaho Education News: Idaho House Committee Kills 'Salamander Bill'


Idaho Giant Salamander
  • Idaho Giant Salamander

The noble efforts of a Boise 8th grader who was trying to get the Idaho Giant Salamander designated as the Gem State's official amphibian, weren't enough for a handful of GOP legislators who brought the campaign to an abrupt halt Monday morning.

Ilah Hickman is a 14-year-old student at Les Bois Junior High, and it has been her five-year mission to convince lawmakers to officially designate the salamander as Idaho's own, but Idaho Ed News reports that the measure was voted down on a 10 to 6 vote of the Idaho House State Affairs Committee.

"Committee Slimes Boise Student's Salamander Bill," wrote Kevin Richert of Idaho Ed News, reporting that Republican members of the committee expressed concerned that the designation might lead to a full endangered species protection. 

Hickman was prepared, reports Idaho Ed News, with a letter from Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's office indicating that a state designation would not lead to any additional environmental protections. 

Coeur d'Alene Republican Rep. Kathleen Sims was unconvinced and voted no, as did nine other Republicans. Two Republicans, Reps. Linden Bateman and Lynn Luker joined four Democrats in a losing effort. 

Hickman, however, is not deterred. She told Idaho Ed News that she'll be back next year and every other year as long as she can get a hearing on the issue.